The Great Mosque of Xining is one the four largest mosques in northwest China and is the largest and most important mosque in the Qinghai Province. Locally, it is known as the Dongguan Masjid, or the East Gate Mosque, due to its eastern location in the city alongside the Muslim Hui neighborhood. According to an inscription added to the mosque during a major reconstruction in 1914, the mosque was first built during the Ming Dynasty under Emperor Hongwu (1368-98). However, it is known that the mosque was destroyed and rebuilt entirely as recently as in the late nineteenth century. Renovated in 1914, the mosque was enlarged in 1946. Built atop an irregular two-level brick platform, the mosque complex consists of a grand eastern gateway that opens into a large rectangular courtyard that is flanked by two lecture halls to the north and south, with the prayer hall to its west. The five-arched gateway is anchored at either end by bangke towers, which served as minarets and moon-watching pavilions. They rise to three-stories above a tall base: The first two stories are built of brick and have a window on each façade, while the third story is an open pavilion with a pyramidal roof. Built at a later date than the mosque, the wide gateway features neo-classical elements. It leads into the courtyard flanked by lecture halls, where a set of stairs climb up to the prayer hall straight ahead.